Wedding Blog: Tipping Your Wedding Vendors
Before you finalize that wedding budget, make sure you've left room for the tips that you have to put aside for your wedding vendors, the people that make it all happen for you. Very often, brides and grooms overlook this important item while planning their budget. Be smart and make sure you include all the gratuities in your budget so you're not surprised when these amounts add up be hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Wedding vendors work hard at making your event extra special and at ensuring that it's unforgettable and seamless. Some vendors even expect a tip, so don’t be surprised to see this mentioned in their contracts or during face-to-face meetings. Of course, tipping is not mandatory, but rewarding great service is the classy way to go and also ensures you will receive top-notch service, especially if you tip in advance. However, if you've received less-than-stellar service on one of the most special days of your life, do not reward poor service!
You should also consider who is sharing in the tip. Take, for example, the case of an unfriendly front person from your catering company. This person is not the one you're tipping. The tip goes to the efficient and friendly servers and bartenders who have been giving your guests great service all night. So, skimping on the tip because of an unfriendly caterer is not fair to the hard-working staff who were the people who made your wedding reception a great experience.
How much should you tip?
There are different guidelines you can follow when trying to determine the amount of your tip. Some factors that can influence the amount you tip include the size of your wedding, your wedding venue, the service received, or percentages of what you paid for the service. Most often, caterers and reception venue managers will include a 15-20% gratuity in their contract, and it is paid prior to the event. On top of that, you can offer another tip after the wedding to the amazing servers and bartenders who made your experience an unforgettable one. Also, caterers and/or managers are offered a tip as well, if they've been exceptionally helpful and accommodating. Tipping $1 to $2 per guest is a good guideline for this case.
The maitre d', or banquet captain, is a key player in your reception. This is the person that directs the night and makes sure everything runs smoothly in the kitchen and with the food and beverage service. He makes sure that all guests are well taken care of and happy the entire night. Plan on tipping $1 to $5 per guest for extraordinary service. For waiters and waitresses, plus bartenders, 15-20% is good. As I mentioned earlier, sometimes this is already included in the contract, but if the tip was not included, you may give the servers tips to the maitre d' or head server and ask him/her to distribute this.
Restroom attendants, coat check, and valet should be pre-paid and tipped by the HOST of the event and not expected from the guests. Limousine drivers should be tipped 15-20% and most likely you will be told to tip your driver upon booking the service.
Also, the people that have a big role in making your night, namely the DJs and musicians should be tipped if their performance was exceptional. They work hard at every event to gauge the audience and run the night catering to the needs of your crowd, and can make or break your night. Twenty-five dollars or more per musician is the usual amount and DJs are tipped anywhere from $50 to $200 or more, especially if he or she is the only entertainer of the night.
Florists and bakers are not usually tipped, as you pay a flat fee for the service they're providing you, but if you received great service, a 15% tip would be a good gesture. The same goes with photographers or videographers. They're paid a flat fee. However, if the photographer works for someone in a studio, you could tip $50 to $250, depending on how pleased you are with the service and overall size of your wedding group and budget. Don’t forget the makeup and hair people who make you look and feel fabulous; you should tip between 15-20%. Officiants are paid a flat fee, but if your officiant has gone out of his or her way to help you prepare for the big day, tipping anywhere between $50 to $200 is appreciated.
Lastly, I've been asked many times what an appropriate tip for an extraordinary wedding planner would be. A wedding planner is paid for his or her service, but if the service was exceptional, a tip showing your appreciation is a wonderful gesture. Ten percent of the coordination fee is a nice amount but some planners have reported tips ranging from $100 to $1,000.
If your budget simply doesn't have room for tips, that's fine. A really nice recommendation letter or referral is greatly appreciated. Just acknowledging the fine service you received will make a vendor very happy.
Written by Rita Wong, Rita Wong Events http://www.ritawongevents.com
Rita Wong is a wedding and events planner and owner of Rita Wong Events. Based in Montreal, Rita also plans many weddings every year for brides living in Toronto and abroad. She is a dedicated follower of new trends and her goal is to give each bride a wedding that is fresh, unique, and a personal reflection of who they are. She now shares her professional insights with slice.ca.
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